India to use Embraer platform for airborne early warning system

July 3rd, 2008 - 9:17 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 3 (IANS) In a path breaking development, India and Brazil Thursday inked a deal to jointly develop an airborne early warning and control system (AEWCS) for the Indian Air Force to supplement a larger eye-in-the-sky system it will induct later this year. The agreement was signed here by S. Christopher, director of the Centre for Airborne Systems (CABS) of the Defence Research and Development Organistion (DRDO) and Luis Carlos Aguiar, Embraer’s executive vice president for defence and government markets.

The project is believed to be valued at Rs.18 billion ($415 million).

Under the deal, Embraer will modify its EMB-145 regional jet to mate it with an active array antenna unit that CABS has developed. Three such aircraft will be developed, with the first of these scheduled for delivery in 2011, a defence ministry statement said.

DRDO will integrate the various sub-systems of the AEWCS into the modified aircraft, which the DRDO and the Indian Air Force will flight test from 2012, the statement added.

The AEWC system comprises many sub-systems like radar and communication links that DRDO is designing and developing.

Some 10 EMB-145 ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems) are currently operated by the air forces of Brazil, Mexico and Greece.

India’s cabinet committee on security (CCS), at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in September 2004, had cleared the AEWCS project.

It differed from an earlier indigenous air surveillance platform (ASP) project of the DRDO. Under this, a revolving dorsal rotodome was mounted atop a HS-748 turboprop manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

Some flight tests were conduct but the project came to an abrupt end when the aircraft crashed in 1999, killing all eight scientists and pilots aboard.

India signed a $1.1 billion deal with Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) in 2004 for three IAI-built Phalcon radars mounted on an IL-76 transport aircraft.

The first of these is due later this year, even as the Indian Air Force is considering the purchase of an additional three systems.

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